Print Edition: October 22, 2014
In the early stages of this year’s municipal election, one mayoral candidate in Burnaby is finally showing the courage to end violence, once and for all.
While other candidates for the top job in Burnaby are stressing the usual empty election pillars (improvements to transportation and affordable housing — how original!) Sylvia Gung’s sole focus is the betterment of the community: banning public displays of affection (PDA).
Gung puts it clearly and elegantly in her candidate statement: “She shows an effective mayor who uses any opportunity to empower citizens, since the position allows nothing for the real job — establishing wholesome society.” The rest of her statement can be found on the Burnaby city website.
One of the criteria for a wholesome society as set out by the BC Ministry of Perfect Communities is, of course, the total ending of violence in a given municipality. To this end, Gung’s proposed solution is to end the real root cause of violence.
“[Ban] behaviours that hints [sic] sex / sexuality, even including Bridal Kiss and walking hand in hand, that hurt public decorum and lead to further violence,” Gung writes as part of her platform.
Banning the bridal kiss will have a huge impact on the public wedding industry of Burnaby, but professional wedding planner Lacey Buckett says the tradition isn’t worth the danger involved in the practice.
“The last outdoor wedding I planned was at Deer Lake Park. When it came time to lift the veil, a masked woman in the audience leapt up and tried to throw a brick at the bride,” Buckett reflects. “When it comes to marrying in public spaces, I have to be both wedding planner and security detail. Last year, I had to get a gun license.”
But it’s not just newlyweds who are feeling the pain of affectionate public displays. Just last week Derrick Peasable, a stay-at-home dad, was out walking hand in hand with his three-year-old daughter when a disturbed adolescent male began to beat at him with an exhaust pipe. Peasable says the physical scars don’t compare to the fear he now feels to hold his daughter’s hand.
“It was awful. Just awful. I can’t even hug her anymore — she’s so confused.”
PDA PhD Mark Smun said other places in the world have successfully banned public displays of affection, even using old lookout towers to scout for loving activity.
“In Russia they had a fellow watching from an arrow-slit with an automatic rifle to stop stuff like this. If Gung can manage to get that going here, well … then we’d be on our way to a safer community. Until then, it’s all just campaign talk.”